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How To Discover Your Greatest Gift

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Creative Commons License photo credit: bbjee

“The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sometimes we ask ourselves – what am I passionate about? what is my purpose in life? or what do I love to do? – and the answer is not very clear to us.  When we don’t know the answers to these questions it can make us feel as if we are just going through the motions of life every day.

There is a way to find out the answers to all these questions, by simply asking ourselves one question – What do I most want to give?

This question is really two-pronged, because within it we are asking what we most love to do and how do we most want to contribute to other people.  Our greatest gift lies at the intersection between these two questions.

We often refer to the talents and skills we posses as “gifts” and you can think of it this way – we possess gifts because they were given to us to use and we are also expected to give them to other people.  This makes all of us both the Receiver and the Giver.

Why Should You Discover Your Greatest Gift?

  • You will know your purpose – Your purpose in life is to do the thing you love to do so well that you fulfill a need for other people.  A purpose involves both “I” and “We.”  That’s why knowing your purpose is so fulfilling – you get to do what you love and you get to make a contribution to life.  It makes every day and everything you do seem meaningful (even mundane stuff).
  • You will know your passion – It is thrilling to engage in activities that we love to do.  It’s also peaceful.  The combination of these two feelings makes for a fulfillment that we rarely find anywhere else in life.  Adding passion to your life makes the days feel different, and increases your appreciation of life itself.
  • The World needs it – The World needs you and your contribution.  Without it, there is a great loss.  Remember that when you nurture the thing that you love you are transforming it into something valuable.  Share it freely with others.
  • You will feel Joy – The joy of being alive comes from actively giving and receiving.  The flow of energy between giver and receiver and then back again creates a current of love and vitality that is the key to not only being alive, but feeling alive too.

How To Discover Your Greatest Gift

  1. Ask yourself:  What do I most want to Give? – It always starts with a question.  Remember, this question has two parts – what do I love to do? and how can I contribute to others?  By asking – what do I most want to give? – you ask both questions at once and can be sure that within the answer lies your greatest gift.  If you ask for it, it will come to you.
  2. Write it down as it comes to you. – The key here is not to judge or to censor what comes to your mind.  Write the answers down as they come to you, no matter how far fetched or absurd.  You can always go back through them later and cut them down to what feels the best.
  3. Let your feelings guide you. –  Pay attention to what answers seem to “pop into” your mind.  Follow ideas and thoughts that attract you.  This exercise is not really about being logical, it’s about seeing what feels the best to you.
  4. Be OK with vagueness. – Some people may have a very concrete answer to this question and may be able to name a tangible activity.  However, I would imagine most people will come up with something that feels great, but seems a little vague.  You can always refine this answer later, so don’t worry about being too specific right now.  When I first did this exercise I came up with something like “To tell people what I see.”  I didn’t really know what that meant at the time, but I knew it involved observing and experiencing, thinking about those things, and then writing or speaking about them (hence, this blog 😉 ).  I’ve been able to refine that since, but if I had tried to be too specific I would have gotten away from my original intent.
  5. When you have that “certain feeling” you’ve found it. – The way that you know you have come to a correct answer is to feel it.  It should be a combination of energy and excitement with peace and calm.  Like you could fly if you wanted to, but can come back to the ground at any time.
  6. Investigate. – After you have come to an answer you like, begin to look into that answer, especially if it is vague.  What does this mean to you?  How can you begin to practice it right away?  You already have everything you need to take that first step.
  7. It may “change” over the years. – As you refine your answer, your gift may seem to take on different forms.  But, just know, that at it’s core it’s the same gift.  It has simply grown to involve many forms.

What about you?  Was there a way you discovered your greatest gift?  Still looking?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

Published inPersonal Growth


  1. Amanda — I liked this post very much. I found it on Twitter and couldn’t resist checking it out. My favorite line is this one , “Our greatest gift lies at the intersection between these two questions[what do I most love to do and what do I want to contribute to people].”

    The intersection for me is between writing and helping others. This is one reason I love blogging so much because I can do both. I get to write, which I love. Sometimes the things I say may help someone. In addition, as a blogger, I can reach out to new bloggers just starting and starting talking with them. When I do both, I feel very complete.

    The suggestions you give in this post are excellent. Thanks for sharing them with us:~)
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..Picture Story: Sandtrap =-.

  2. Giving is the only way we can receive any thing. We must give our heart , soul, love , knowledge and spirit in order to achieve our dream. You must look in the mirror and say i gave it my best , with full faith ,while never doubting my abilities to achieve anything i put my mind to. Our greatest gift relies in us providing the best service to our fellow man. YOU must give 110% each time a goal is set.

    Allow yourself to write down 5-6 thing activities you can do each day which will bring you closer to your dream. This may consist of making a phone call, reading a couple chapters within a book, write on a blog or checking your ppc ads. Whatever the task maybe allow your self to prioritize, work hard, and stay focuses on positivity. Keep your mind focused on how to think positive, as your working to ward discovering your greatest gift.
    .-= jonathanfigaro´s last blog ..How to Reduce Stress In 5 Simple Steps =-.

  3. I really do believe that everyone has a gift of some sort and, as you noted, it’s so important to discover what one’s gift is because it will lead to a happier, more fulfilled life. I don’t think people give nearly enough thought to this and you’ve done such an excellent job of providing guidance on finding one’s gift. Great post!
    .-= Positively Present´s last blog ..a letter to my older self =-.

  4. ‘What do I most want to give’ – that’s a beautiful question. I really like the way you have put it. I think this might also lead to discovering areas of our lives which need more expression.
    .-= Avani Mehta´s last blog ..Enrich Your Life – Part 2 =-.

  5. Amanda,
    What good timing this is. I’ve been thinking about what to do with my life since I left Michigan 2 years ago. I didn’t think it would be the same thing. So I tried different things and then nothing (except my blogging of course)!

    So I kept praying, meditating, and listening for guidance. Then bingo. I get hired as a professional speaker, get an order for 20 more books and am invited to do a women’s group. So I’ll be adding speaking again to my gifts I share and also will write another book. You can speak and get paid well unless you continue to publish and produce products. Again this is so timely. Thanks.
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..Let’s Finish Strong! =-.

  6. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Sara – Thanks! It’s wonderful to be able to name that thing where you really enjoy making a contribution. I’m glad you’ve found something. 🙂

    Hi Jonathan – I agree. Giving and receiving happen together, in a cycle. Without one you can’t have the other. 🙂

    Hi Dani – You’re right. People don’t always spend enough time on this, and, unlike you, I’m not sure everyone believes they even have a gift to share. Finding your gift can make such a difference in one’s life.

  7. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Avani – I really like your suggestion! Sometimes there is something we’d like to express only we are not paying enough attention. Good idea. 🙂

    Hi Tess – Congrats! It’s funny how things can happen all at once like that. I guess maybe your gifts can find you too!

  8. Thumbs up to what you said “Our greatest gift lies at the intersection between these two questions.” I usually think of such questions as how do I wish to express myself, given my natural gifts.
    .-= Evelyn Lim´s last blog ..Create Powerfully In Pictures =-.

  9. Thanks for this Amanda. It’s true, we tend to get so caught up in cost-benefit thinking about how much we’ll get paid doing something, where we’ll be located if we do it, and so on that we neglect our instincts about what we really want, and listening to those can be so valuable.

  10. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Evelyn – I like that question also. It leads you in the right direction. 🙂

    Hi Chris – Yes, it is about instincts. Listening to that inner guidance. 🙂

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